Meet Reviewer Damian Erskine ~
Peavey Ampkit & Ampkit Link
While I don’t normally tend to do product reviews, I’ve come across a new piece of software for the iPhone & iPad that is pretty darned impressive and I wanted to let you know about it. The Peavey AmpKit software is, essentially, an amp modeling app for the iPhone, iPod touch or iPad which gives you access to a large number of amp, microphone & stomp-box combinations, allowing for a huge array of tones. Combined with the AmpKit link (a piece of hardware sold separately, which allows you to plug your bass or guitar into the phone and listen via an 1/8″ mini-jack (for headphones, but you could also send the signal to some powered speakers or a PA)), this software will prove to be very useful for many situations!
Personally, I’ve found this to be great for traveling. I normally bring a practice headphone unit I bought for far more money than you could spend on this (even with all of the optional in app purchases of different effects, amps & mics). Hands down, the ease of use, flexibility and quality of sound makes this AmpKit a no-brainer for me. This has officially replaced my travel friendly practice headphone amp.
Once you’ve decided on a rig to use and a microphone (which you can place freely in front of the speaker) you have the option of adding different combinations of stomp-boxes (effect pedals) to dial in whatever kind of tone you’re looking for. Honestly, these effects are the best sounding effects I’ve heard in any app of this kind.
In addition, you can record yourself (the app records both the dry signal as well as the effected signal so you can later go back and try different effects, etc…). Once you’ve recorded a track, you can upload it to your computer, upload it to soundcloud or just keep it on the device and use it as a backing track to play against! (great for setting up loops for yourself to practice over, etc..).
One feature that would really set this over the top is a multi-track recorder. We are limited to one recording to play against and cannot (yet) record separate tracks and layer them.
You can, however, re-amp your recordings, which is very hip.
We are also given a tuner and simple metronome (so this could also replace you’re tuner and metronome apps, if you choose).
One thing I really dig is that the Ampkit Link seems to work better than other 1/4″ – 1/8″ connectors I’ve bought to connect my bass to my iPhone. This is possibly due to the need of 2-AAA batteries to power the device, although I plugged it in without the batteries and was still able to tune my bass with my other tuning apps. It actually, STILL worked better than my other cable without the batteries (which I paid $15 for).
You will need the batteries however to really use the app. The output is just too low to be functional without them, so there will be some added battery needs while using this on the road.
In addition, you can upload your own backing tracks into the app via your web browser if both your computer and phone are on the same wireless network. VERY cool for practicing tunes away from home!!
The app comes in two versions:
FREE AmpKit – includes the Peavey ValveKing amp with clean and high-gain lead channels, two ValveKing cabs, two pedals, two mics and the built in Noise and Feedback filter.
AmpKit+ – will run you $19.99 and includes more amps, cabs, pedals, etc..
In either version of the app, you can buy more gear through the in-app gear store. There are currently 49 components available on the store with more on the way.
You will also want to buy the AmpKit LINK to plug run your instrument through the software. Again, there are alternatives but I found the Peavey AmpKit Link to work far better than any other that I’ve tried. It does feel a little plastic-y and I don’t think it could take a lot of abuse, but it does work beautifully, so just be careful with it.
The AmpKit Link will run you $39.99.
So, with the premium version of the software and the Link, we’re talking about $60 (plus any additional in-app purchases). This may seem like a lot for the whole package, but if you compare it to other headphone amps and other amp modelers on the market, this is less than half of what you’d pay for the functionality in any other box. Additionally, it lives in your phone, which means it’s one less thing to carry on a trip or gig.
All in all, I loved this thing. It’s VERY intuitive to use, sounds great and just simply works like you’d hope it would. The additional ability to record and play over tracks is just great for the traveling musician or anyone who wants to be able to practice with headphones on anywhere they want to! I’m very impressed with this initial version of the software and can’t wait to see what kind of additional functionality may be down the road!
Check out the website link and watch the youtube videos. You’ll immediately see what it can do.
Here are a few screenshots to check out.
About Damian Erskine
Damian Erskine is not your ordinary bass player. While not touring, Damian hones his chops with some of the best jazz and latin musicians the West coast has to offer. Damian is known for his ability to fit into any musical situation and his extraordinary reading and improvising skills.